Here's something the New York Jets don't need - another distraction.
A few days after the humiliation featuring the New York Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul whipping past the Jets' Wayne Hunter as if he was transparent, Rex Ryan provided the embattled offensive lineman a day off from practice. You can insert any joke that might seem appropriate there, including the one in which you ask how missing practice is a positive development for Hunter. Heck, if anyone needs practice, it's him.
Gallows humor aside, the Wayne Hunter situation - and you know it's a developing issue when "situation" appears after your name - has a chance to result in two very dangerous outcomes. The first is obvious. It's already an enormous distraction on a team replete with them. It's becoming clear the Jets are saddled with an awful offensive football team, and chaos from turbulence involving a player so obviously overmatched in the trenches is not helpful. Already, we've heard from teammates hurrying to his defense. But this isn't simply a one or two game issue. Hunter was horrible last year as well, and dramatically so. In fact, there was a collective shock when he wasn't released after that. His teammates will soon appear foolish, since his shortcomings are so obvious to even the most casual onlooker. There's Hunter, there's his defensive responsibility, and then there's his man cruising past him on the way to the quarterback. It doesn't take a rocket scientist or even an offensive coordinator, to discern the problem.
Secondly, once we've all finished lambasting the guy, there's the matter of his psyche that needs consideration. He is experiencing the beginning of an unremitting excoriation, though the current situation isn't all Hunter's fault. He is so clearly incapable of carrying out his responsibility, the burden for his playing time has to rest on Rex Ryan. Why expose the player to this scrutiny? Every time he misses an assignment, he's another step closer to a nervous breakdown.
For his sake, for our sake, Ryan should put this poor man out of his misery and cut him. Until then, it borders on cruel and inhuman punishment.
Glenn Vallach has been a football fan for most of his lifetime, but never played organized pigskin unless you consider the thousands of youth hours running slant routes on city streets with a friend serving as Joe Willie. Don Maynard was his idol, an adulation he took seriously, complete with a number 13 stitched to his sweatshirt. He remains a New York Jet fan through so much disappointment and embarrassment over the years. Coach Rex Ryan has rekindled a dormant fire, but sometimes he feels as if he doesn't understand the likely end result of all his efforts. It has been 42 years, after all.
- Yahoo! Sports New York Jets page
- Yahoo! Sports New York Giants page
- Yahoo! Sports Wayne Hunter page
- Yahoo! Sports Jason Pierre-Paul page
- Dennis Waszak Jr., The Associated Press, Jets give struggling Hunter day off from practice
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